Anaheim Ducks

NHL Breaking News: Ducks Get Kesler

keslerRyan Kesler is the latest Canucks player hoping to land in greener pastures.

We will never know just how close the Vancouver Canucks’ Ryan Kesler came to being traded at this past season’s NHL trade deadline, but it has been reported that Kesler is now a member of the Anaheim Ducks.

ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reported, and later confirmed, that the Ducks have sent forward Nick Bonino, defenseman Luca Sbisa, and their first round pick (24th overall) in tonight’s NHL draft to the Canucks for the former Selke Trophy winner.  According to LeBrun the teams will also swap third round draft slots.

Kesler is just another piece in the dismantling of the Canucks. The 29-year old joins goalie Roberto Luongo (traded) and David Booth (buyout) as former Canucks. The team also fired team president and GM Mike Gilles, and coach John Tortorella. The two were replaced by Jim Benning and Willie Desjardins, respectively. Former Canucks’ star Trevor Linden was also named president of hockey operations.

Kesler has two years remaining on the six-year, $30MM deal he signed with Vancouver prior to the 2010-2011 season. His contract will have a $5MM impact on Anaheim’s salary cap for those two years.

The 23rd overall pick in the 2003 NHL draft, Kesler has played his entire 10 year career with Vancouver. His best season was the first of his current contract, in which he tallied career highs in goals (41) and assists (32), won the Selke for best defensive forward, and finished eighth in the league MVP voting.

Bonino blossomed this season, with 47 points in 77 games. Acquired from the San Jose Sharks in 2009, the 6’1″ centerman appeared in 189 games over five seasons with Anaheim. He has three years remaining on his deal with an annual $1.9MM cap hit.

Sbisa was the 19th overall pick by the Philadelphia Flyers in 2008. He was sent to Anaheim as part of a package that brought defenseman Chris Pronger to Philly the following year. The native of Italy has struggled the last two years after putting up a stellar 2011-2012 campaign. He’s in the final year of his contract, with a $2.175MM cap hit.

Salary information obtained from capgeek.com

Statistics obtain from hockey-reference.com

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NHL: Teemu Selanne – The End of an Era

Teemu Selanne Ducks 2014 playoff previewTeemu Selanne had a Hall of Fame NHL career he’ll now reflect back on.

by Alli Baker

On May 16, 2014, the Teemu Selanne era came to an end when the Anaheim Ducks fell in an emotional Game 7 to the Los Angeles Kings, 6-2. Although the Kings had just won a spot in the NHL Western Conference semi-finals, the end of Selanne’s career took everyone’s attention over the King’s victory.

After the end of the game, the Kings and Ducks players stayed on the ice and tapped their sticks in a salute to Selanne as he said his final farewell to the Anaheim crowd. While the 43-year old fell short of winning a second Stanley Cup, Selanne by no means fell short of putting together an impressive NHL career.

The sure-fire future Hall of Famer began his career playing for the Finnish junior league team, Jokerit. After spending three years in the development program, Selanne ended his junior career in 1987-1988 with a junior-A championship and an impressive 43 goals and 66 points in 33 games. 1  His notable performance sparked the interest of the Winnipeg Jets, who then selected Selanne tenth overall, in the 1988 NHL amateur draft.

After being drafted, Selanne continued playing in Finland with SM-Liiga until he was signed to a North American contract with the Jets in 1992. From there, he began an incredible twenty-one year NHL career. He played his first NHL game on October 6, 1992 against the Detroit Red Wings.

Nicknamed the “Finnish Flash” because of his speed and agility, Selanne quickly proved himself in his first few games in the NHL.  The rookie collected his first career hat trick just five games into his professional career.  He went on to score 76 goals, including four hat tricks and one four-goal game. 2 Selanne broke the National Hockey League record for most goals scored by a rookie, earning himself the Calder Memorial Trophy as the top freshman in the NHL.

He was also a first-time All-Star, and was chosen for the All-Star team another nine times over the course of his career. Though Winnipeg lost in the first round of the playoffs, Selanne collected six points in six games. He maintained consistent play throughout the next three years with the Jets, reaching 100 career goals in 1994, in only 130 NHL games. Only the New York Islanders’ Mike Bossy was faster to reach that milestone.

Unfortunately, after that feat was accomplished, Selanne tore his Achilles tendon and was forced to sit out the last 33 games of the 1994 season. He finished with just 25 goals on the season. The 1994-1995 NHL lockout the following year caused Selanne to return back to his native Finland for half a season, where he played for Jokerit Helsinki-Finland and was named tournament All-Star when the team won the 1995 European Cup.

Once the lockout ended, Selanne returned to the Jets, but was traded halfway through the season to the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. Upon hearing of the trade, Selanne was apparently furious. According to the Seattle Times, he stormed out of practice and ripped the nameplate off from above his locker. He left Winnipeg Arena without talking to reporters. 3  Although it took time to adjust to the trade, Selanne later said that it was the best thing to happen to his career.

In his first stint with the Ducks (from the 1995-1996 season into the 2000-2001 season), Selanne scored 225 goals and had two 50+ goal seasons. His performance led to five All-Star appearances, chief among them the the 1998 All-Star game, where he became the first European to score a hat trick and to be voted Most Valuable Player. The 1998 season also saw Selanne win the inaugural Maurice “The Rocket” Richard Trophy for the league’s highest goal scorer (47). 4

At the 2000-2001 trade deadline, Selanne was sent to the San Jose Sharks for two players and a draft choice. He fell just short of 30 goals the next two seasons and left the west coast for a free agent deal with the Colorado Avalanche. The 33-year old struggled for the better part of the season, scoring only 16 goals (and 16 assists) in 78 games. After failing to win a Cup in Colorado and being placed on the fourth line for most of the season, Selanne took the 2004-2005 lockout year off from hockey to recover and then came back with the Ducks for the 2005-2006 season.

A revitalized Selanne scored 40 or more goals for two straight seasons and notched his 1,000th career point. He also joined Jari Kurri as the only Finnish-born players to score 500 goals, when he accomplished that feat in 2006. Selanne than took part in what every NHL player dreams of: a Stanley Cup championship. The 2007 Ducks defeated the Ottawa Senators for the franchise’s first title. After 14 seasons and a Stanley Cup win, Selanne contemplated retirement annually, but continued to play with the Ducks for another seven seasons. He finally decided that the 21st season of his career would be his last in the NHL.

The 43-year old Selanne,  a fan favorite in Anaheim, received a standing ovation and the first, second, and third star in his final regular season game against the Avalanche. The Ducks organization later announced that Selanne’s number 8 would be the first number retired by the franchise.

Selanne’s illustrious career wasn’t limited to his NHL accomplishments. Internationally, the Finn played in six Olympic games and holds the records for most points scored in the Olympics. He is also the oldest player to medal in Olympic Ice Hockey after he picked up a bronze medal this past winter at age 43.

Outside of hockey, Selanne is a collector of cars and has entered the World Rally Championship two times.  He is also the owner of  a Laguna Beach restaurant and the previous owner of four establishments in Finland. In his native country, he is the focus of a biographical film, “Sel8nne”, which looks at his life in and out of the NHL.

And because Teemu Selanne is apparently capable of doing just about everything, he was a kindergarten teacher before he began his hockey career.

Oh, and in case anyone was wondering, he was also voted Sexiest Man Alive in Finland by the magazine “Eeva.” 5. Way to go, Teemu. That’s the life of a legend.

 

1 – wikipedia.org
2 – nhl.com
3 – seattletimes.nwsource.com
4 – ocregister.com
5 – localemagazine.com

 

Alli Baker is a hockey fanatic and contributor for Designated for Assignment.  She can be reached at allibaker23@aol.com or followed on Twitter at @allibaker23

2014 NHL PLAYOFFS: DUCKS VS. STARS

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With Teemu Selanne retiring, the Ducks aim to help him go out on top with another Stanley Cup victory.

by Christopher Wenrich

The opening round playoff series between the Anaheim Ducks and the Dallas Stars pits two teams against one another that have each won one Stanley Cup.  Led by superstar winger, Teemu Selanne. and goalie Jean-Sebastian Giguere, the then-”Mighty Ducks” won the Lord Stanley’s Cup in the 2006-2007 season. Ironically, both players are set to retire after this post-season. The Stars hoisted the best trophy in sports in 1999, with a star-studded roster that included Brett HullMike ModanoJoe Nieuwendyk, and Ed Belfour. Both teams also lost finals to the New Jersey Devils in 2000 (Ducks) and 2003 (Stars).

The Ducks may no longer be known as the Mighty Ducks, but they were plenty mighty this season, as they scored the most goals in the National Hockey League (263) and finished one point behind Boston for the league’s best record. Selanne, at 43 years of age, will  finish his NHL career with 684 goals, 773 assists and 1,457 regular season points.  Selanne’s post-season career isn’t bad either, with 82 points in 118 games.  The veteran star finished the 2013-2014 season with only 27 points in 64 games. However, when he brought home the Olympic bronze medal for his native Finland, he demonstrated he could still play the game at a high level.

Anaheim Ducks
263 goals for (1st)
203 goals against (9th)
16.0 PP% (22nd)
82.2 PK% (13th)

Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry led the Ducks in scoring, as the Ducks generated an NHL-best 263 goals.  Getzlaf registered 31 goals and 87 points in 77 games.  Perry scored 43 goals and 82 points in 81 games.  Oddly, the NHL’s highest-scoring team had no other players reach the 50-point mark this season.  Nick Bonino amassed 49 points in 77 games while defenseman Cam Fowler produced 36 points in 70 games.  Andrew Cogliano netted 40-plus points for the first time since his 2007-2008 rookie season.

Defensemen usually need more seasoning than forwards before they are NHL-ready.  However, rookie defenseman Hampus Lindholm was impressive this season, scoring 30 points in 78 games.  More importantly, his +29 rating was second on the Ducks (trailing Perry’s +32).  Plus/minus can be a very misleading stat, as a player’s plus/minus rating is the byproduct of the team he plays for.  However, a rookie defenseman with a plus/minus record that is second-best on an NHL team is quite impressive.

While the Ducks’ 22nd-ranked power play may not sound like much, they led the NHL in goals (263) and five-on-five goals (192).  The Ducks may rely on their top line to do most of the scoring, but they are a crisp passing team that generates scoring chances with each of their lines.

Jonas Hiller had a strong season in goal, posting a 29-13-7 record with a 2.48 GAA, .911 SV% and five shutouts.  As the regular season faded, Frederik Andersen outplayed Hiller, causing speculation that he might steal the starting gig from Hiller in the playoffs.  In 28 games with the Ducks, Hiller was 20-5-0 with a 2.29 GAA, .923 SV% and no shutouts.  Hiller likely will not be the starter when the playoffs begin, with Andersen or John Gibson making the start.  Hiller cannot be amused by his role reversal from number one goaltender to last resort.

Dallas Stars
231 goals for (10th)
223 goals against (17th)
15.9 PP% (23rd)
81.4 PK% (21st)

During the course of an NHL season, a team’s fans would be thrilled to see one young star have a breakout season.  The Stars were doubly blessed as Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn both emerged as impact players this season.  The 22-year-old Seguin set career-bests in goals (37), assists (47), and points (84), in 80 games this season.  The 24-year-old Benn set career-bests in goals (34), assists (45), and points (79), in 81 games.  Seguin is an electrifying skater who can make plays at top speed and defeat defenders in one-on-one battles.  His ability to create something out of nothing with his skating and puck handling is remarkable.  He and Benn complement one another greatly on the ice.

Like the Ducks, the Stars rely on their top line to do perhaps too much of the scoring.  Aside from Seguin (84 points), and Benn (79 points), defenseman Alex Goligoski (42 points), was the only other Star to reach 40 points.  Alex Chiasson (35 points) and Valeri Nichushkin (34 points) should not be expected to outplay the Ducks’ checking-line veterans.  If Sergei Gonchar finds his game, he and Goligoski may help the Stars generate the goals needed to upset the Ducks.

Kari Lehtonen was 33-20-10 this season with a 2.41 GAA, .919 SV% and five shutouts.  Lehtonen has the talent to be one of the best goalies in the NHL and is capable of stealing a series, but he has a young team in front of him that can affect his consistency.  Should Lehtonen suffer an injury or struggle, backup Tim Thomas is capable of winning games in goal.

nhl bracket

The Stars might have the edge in goal simply because there is no goalie controversy in Dallas, but the Ducks have the better defense.  The Stars’ top line and the Ducks’ top line may be a push (if not an edge to the Ducks), but the Ducks’ checking-line veterans will likely make the difference in this series.  Barring Herculean efforts by Lehtonen or Thomas in goal, the Ducks should dispose of the Stars without too much difficulty.

Christopher Wenrich is a contributor for Designated For Assignment.  Follow him on Twitter (@DuggerSports).